Leah Louise King looks at how life as a fresher squares up against life as a Leaving Cert

A lot of college freshers think of college as just another three or four years of school – but they couldn’t be more wrong.

There are so many differences between secondary school and college, and these differences make college more enjoyable than school ever was.

All grown up

Firstly, in college, you’re seen as an adult, so therefore you will be treated like an adult.

There is no writing letters home to your parents telling them your homework isn’t done or you were talking in class – and no detention.

You will even find that your parents will begin treating you like an adult when you begin college.

Could you imagine your parents letting you go on a night out on a school night, even if you were 18? I doubt it, but you’ll be amazed that they won’t mind you going out midweek, as long as you promise to go to college the following morning.

No more Mammy

For a lot of college freshers, going to college also means moving away from home, meaning you have to become more independent.

Mammy won’t be waking you up in time for class and there will be no lunch waiting for you before you leave. However, living alone is also a plus because it means a bit of freedom, and a lot of partying.

Free time

Unlike school, college isn’t nine to four, five days a week. In fact, in some cases you’re not even in college five days a week. You could also be in at different times each day, nine to one on a Monday or two-to-five on a Friday, it depends on the course.

There is no set lunchtime in college either – you just eat lunch whenever you have a break between lectures, if you even have a break at lunch.

Nice change

Another difference is that after Christmas, you are guaranteed to have a different timetable to before Christmas. These are known as Semester One and Semester Two.

For most of you, you began secondary school with a lot of your childhood friends, but you are more than likely not to know anybody in your class. Also, unlike school, which is in your local area, people come to college from all over the country, so you are going to make friends with a wide range of people from different counties.

In regards to going to classes, unlike school where you had to be in each class or you were in serious trouble, you don’t actually HAVE to attend lectures, unless you want to pass the module that is.

A lot of lecturers will take attendance and sometimes they can use that towards your final grade, so unless you have a valid excuse, try not to miss lectures too much.

There is no ‘homework’ in college either (so to speak).

You will get set assignments that will have to be completed by a certain time, and these will go towards your final grade in that module, but it is nothing like the homework that you got in school.

Pitfall

One downfall to college is that like school, there are Christmas and summer exams in college, but these exams are more serious in college as they will determine whether or not you will make it in to the following year of your course, while in school it only determines what class you will be in the following year.

Personally the most important difference between college and is that there is no uniform, however this can be a pain, for the girls especially, when you are late for class because you couldn’t decide what to wear.

Don’t use these differences as an excuse to take a more laid back approach to college: you’re going to be treated as an adult so act like one.

Ah, well

Remember, this is going to determine the rest of your life, so work hard at it and take it seriously – all while having fun of course.

After all, your college years are said to be the best years of your life.